Ok, China's doing something about the environment, can the U.S. do something now or do we have to wait for India?

One of the great, unassailable arguments of the average climate-change denier is "Why should the U.S. do anything about man-made (snort) climate change when you know China won't do a damn thing?"

It's a fabulous argument, made all the better in that it's normally made by the very same people who will argue that the U.S. is greatest nation in the history of history and should always take the lead on things like killing Muslims by the country-load and that the U.S. has a God-driven responsibility to lead the world into becoming a free, global, democratic Wal-mart.

Well, anyway, the China is trying to do something about their environment:

Banned by Beijing: Plastic Bags

On Sunday, June 1, a far-reaching ban on the manufacture, sale and use of thin plastic bags takes effect, and stores will have to start charging customers for thicker plastic bags. The nationwide new rules are one of China’s first major efforts at regulating everyday, individual behavior in order to protect the environment and conserve resources. (Earlier efforts to cut back on disposable chopsticks haven’t resulted in a formal ban.)

It’s estimated that 3 billion plastic bags are used each day in China, where the discarded bags are known as “white pollution.” Production of the bags is estimated to consume up to 37 million barrels of oil annually.

But in a nation that’s heavily dependent on flimsy plastic bags, which are used to carry anything from newspapers to cooked noodles, some wonder how easily people can be weaned from the bag habit.

“This is a very good measure to protect the environment. However, whether it can last long is still very doubting,” one Chinese student told Scientific American magazine. And some thin bags will still be used under an exemption for bags used to hold fresh and cooked foods.

But already, the government has announced that plastic bags less than 0.025 millimeters thick have been categorized as “items eliminated from production,” and the largest producer of thin plastic bags has shut down. Officials also emphasize that there will be no transition period for implementation of the new rules (in Chinese)– it’s June 1 or bust.

Of course, the argument now from the global-warming deniers is that this is just a political stunt and that China won't enforce the new ban anyway and who do they think they are fooling.

This argument is made all the better that those making the argument are the same ones who will say that the reason that the U.S. has struggled in "democratizing" Iraq and Afghanistan is because liberals are a bunch of pessimists.

Regardless, China has done something. Whether they are going to take it seriously remains to be seen, but they are taking the lead. So is now the time for the climate-change deniers (especially those currently running the nation) to start taking action to help the environment? In any conceivable way? Probably not, after all, India is full of polluters, so why should we bother?

And anyway, what's the big deal anyway? So China wants to try to improve their image by banning a few plastic bags. What harm could plastic bags do anyway?


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